WHAT'S IN A TWEET?

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Abstract:

Given the ongoing debate about foreign correspondence being an endangered species and the foreign news hole shrinking ever more, this study explores how foreign correspondents at major US networks and print outlets use Twitter to break news, promote their work and their news organization, and communicate with their audiences. Findings show that correspondents use Twitter mainly to discuss current events where they are stationed or elsewhere and to promote their news outlet rather than to break news. Broadcast correspondents are more likely to break news, while print correspondents tend to share their opinion and link to other news outlets in their tweets more. While broadcast and print correspondents are equally active on Twitter, the broadcast ones are more popular. Popularity on Twitter is predicted by how long the correspondents have been on the platform and by use of Twitter-specific features like hashtags. The two genders were proportionately represented on Twitter, and no significant differences were found between male and female correspondents on any of the variables under investigation. Many correspondents are still ditching their profiles, setting it to private, or not providing helpful information in their Twitter biographies.

Keywords: Twitter; content analysis; foreign correspondence; social media; uses and gratifications

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17512786.2012.683340

Publication date: February 1, 2013

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